Slugs and snails, snails and slugs; less welcome visitors to the veggie garden can scarcely be imagined. The devastation they can wreak on delicious crops like lettuce and cabbage cannot be understated.
There are ways to deal with slugs of course; there are beer and water traps, cornmeal and diatomaceous earth, hand picking and copper banding and all are effective to a certain degree. There are even potent slug poisons commercially available but most gardeners are not comfortable with an outdoor poison which can leach into the soil or perhaps attract a misguided pet.
Why not hire your own tiny security detail? Toads love to consume slugs and other invertebrates, making them at home in the garden is a simple task. Other than something to eat – those troublesome slugs – toads need but two conditions to be met to be in toad heaven.
Toads need shelter from the direct sun and heat of day. Toad houses are commercially available and can be quite ornamental in their own right. The toad however does not care about that, he just wants to keep cool. A broken flowerpot will suit him just fine. The folks at Uncle Mac’s Garden Shed use bricks set in a square with slate roofs to excellent effect.
Just be sure to place the toad homes where they will be shaded, usually on the north side of a raised bed or tall plant.
The other requirement for happy toads is water. Simply dig out a spot in the ground for a shallow pan, or old birdbath top or the like, and keep it filled. Change the water frequently and pour the old water on the nearest veggie, no need to waste it. This little pond will allow toads to keep properly hydrated.
When toads are content they have no reason to move, and they will gladly help the gardener by chowing down on pesky slugs and other insects.
Why not check the garage and cellar and see what is available to build a house and a pool for your little slug control patrol? It will be gardening season before you know it!
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